WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused President Donald Trump of using temper tantrums to goad Democrats into impeachment hearings and suggested Thursday that his family stage an intervention because he’s incapable of doing his job.
“I wish that his family or his staff would have an intervention for the good of the country,” Pelosi, D-Calif, told a Capitol news conference.
Trump, in turn, called Pelosi “Crazy Nancy.”
“I think she’s got a lot of problems,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
The back and forth began a day after Trump walked out of an infrastructure meeting at the White House and held a Rose Garden news conference to declare he would no longer work with Democrats until their oversight investigations of him and his administration ended.
Pelosi called it a stunt and part of Trump’s plan to push House Democrats onto the path of impeachment, a road she said she would not take without bipartisan support for such a politically divisive measure.
The speaker and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., had planned to meet with Trump at the White House on Wednesday to discuss an infrastructure bill, politically benign legislation that Democrats and Republicans want to deliver with funding for local projects.
Instead, the meeting devolved into a tit for tat.
Trump walks out
Trump left the White House meeting and went to the Rose Garden and delivered a blistering account of Democratic motives behind investigations into election meddling by Russia and alleged ties to Trump’s 2016 campaign, along with probes into his taxes and business dealings.
The president declared he would not cooperate with Democrats on bipartisan legislation until they drop the investigations.
“The president has a bag of tricks,” Pelosi said. “He’s a master of distraction.”
Federal courts have recently ruled that tax and financial documents under subpoena by the House must be released to lawmakers.
“What really got to him was these court cases and (that) the House Democratic Caucus has not passed impeachment and that’s where he wants us to be,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi’s restraint could be tested in a divided caucus where several Democratic lawmakers in the liberal wing have legislation to initiate impeachment proceedings against the president.
Nevadans not pushing impeachment
Nevada’s three Democratic representatives in the House, Dina Titus, Susie Lee and Steven Horsford, back Pelosi in her attempts to hold the caucus together.
There are no Silver State lawmakers co-sponsoring the impeachment bills.
But all three Nevada Democrats want a bipartisan infrastructure bill that could provide funds for highways and McCarran International Airport.
Lee, a member of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, has made an infrastructure bill a top priority.
And Titus is chairwoman of a House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee, which would be instrumental in writing a bipartisan bill that would be inclusive of Nevada projects.
Pelosi said the president is only concerned about this job and reelection, not working for the good of the country.
Earlier this year Trump partially closed the government after Congress rejected his $5.7 billion request for his promised border wall. That provoked a White House spectacle from the president who told Pelosi and Schumer he would keep the government closed until he received wall money.
“Now this time, another temper tantrum,” said Pelosi, who told reporters she prays for Trump.
At the White House, Trump summoned adviser Kellyanne Conway to tell reporters that the president remained calm at the White House meeting.
“No temper tantrum,” she said.
Earlier Thursday, Trump blamed media coverage for distortion of the collapsed meeting with Pelosi and Schumer.
“I was extremely calm yesterday with my meeting with Pelosi and Schumer, knowing that they would say I was raging, which they always do, along with their partner, the Fake News Media. Well, so many stories about the meeting using the Rage narrative anyway – Fake & Corrupt Press!” Trump wrote.
When the Democrats in Congress refinish, for the 5th time, their Fake work on their very disappointing Mueller Report finding, they will have the time to get the REAL work of the people done. Move quickly!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 23, 2019
With the 2020 presidential race as a backdrop, Trump and Republicans have tried to characterize Democrats who won control of the House as radical socialists bent on impeachment, a punitive attack prompted by his presidential election.
Democratic presidential hopefuls have called for impeachment of Trump for attempts to obstruct the special counsel probe and allegations of election finance violations with hush money paid to women who claimed to have had extramarital affairs with Trump.
I would describe his demeanor as agitated. https://t.co/3ZTsA9u6mz
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) May 23, 2019
Pelosi has not ruled out impeachment, but said ongoing House investigations would determine whether there are legal grounds for such action. She has also noted the political consequences of the House advancing impeachment that would likely be blocked in a Republican-controlled Senate.
Titus is spearheading one of those investigations. Her Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee on public buildings has subpoenaed documents related to Trump’s lease of the Old Post Office that houses his D.C. hotel.
The investigation centers on whether Trump as president is profiting from the arrangement, which would be a violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution.